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Yosemite Reflections #1 - Mirror Lake | by PatrickSmithPhotography
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Yosemite Reflections #1 - Mirror Lake

An unusual June snowstorm closed the high roads of the Sierra, so I headed to Yosemite to see what I could find! The first in a LONG series. No HDR.


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Settings etc.:



Canon 5D Mark II

Canon 17-40L @ 17 (as wide as it goes!)

1/4-second exposure @F13 (It is 20 minutes before sunset)

LEE soft ND grad (100x150mm) 0.9 + 0.75

Lee foundation kit filter holder with Lee 77mm adapter ring

ISO 200 (I wanted to keep the exposure short)

RAW file processed with Capture One by Phase One

TIFF file processed with Photoshop


Mirror Lake is a short 2-mile hike from the nearest trailhead but it seems a thousand miles away from the Yosemite crowds. As I headed up, everyone was heading down so I had this place all to myself. I was quite surprised. While mirror lake is accurately named, I still had to wait for the breeze to calm down for get these reflections. When it was windy, I put on my very dark filter for some 30-second exposures with streaking clouds and water which look totally surreal. I'll show those later.


I can not emphazise enough the importance of weather and light when trying to get a nice-looking photo. I have tried this very shot under clear skies and the dynamic range is just too much for the camera to handle. But here, the light is more soft and even. So, no need for HDR



The map shows exactly where this is.



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Taken on June 4, 2009